Built by Kawasaki during July 1943 with "Kou" armament of 2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 machine guns in the fuselage forward decking and two 7.7 mm Type 89 machine guns in the wings. Uncoded serial number 279.
Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF). Assigned to either the 68th Sentai or 78th Sentai. This aircraft had a white fuselage identification band. In the field, a green "snake weave" pattern was applied by spray gun to quickly camouflage the aircraft. The spinner was brown with green and yellow striped propeller blades. No known nickname or nose art. During late 1943, this aircraft operated from Boram Airfield near Wewak.
This Ki-61 force landed into a mangrove swamp near Cape Wom
(Wom Point), causing only only minor damage to the starboard outer wing panel. Afterwards, this aircraft was abandoned.
Until 1973, this aircraft remained in situ in a mangrove swamp near near Cape Wom
During 1973, recovered by Roy
Worcester by floating the aircraft on a log raft and transporting it to the Roy Worcester Historical Centre. Later, it was
moved to the PNG War Museum.
Export & Display
The aircraft was exported to the United States during the early 1980's and owned by Justin Hoisington, and stored in his
hanger at Chino Airport.
Bruce Hoy adds:
"The Worcester Tony was bought by Justin Hoisington in Chino,
California. Hoisington is reported to also been the individual
who disassembled Ki-61 Tony 640, and
was only able to retrieve the tail section. While in the United
States in 1985, I
saw in Hoisington's hangar [at Chino Airport], the Worcester Tony, and two tail units,
which I am sure
was off the Nuku Tony
[Ki-61 Tony 640]."
Later, acquired by Kermit Weeks / Fantasy of Flight the fuselage was displayed at the Miami location, then moved to the new facility at Polk City and placed into off site storage. According to the museum website: "It will
eventually be restored to flying condition".
Since 2005, the fuselage was transported to Precision Aerospace to use as a reference and to copy fittings to assist with the restoration of Ki-61 640. Presumably, the fuselage will be returned to Week afterwards. The wings remain at Fantasy of Flight in off site storage.
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 42 (lower)
Progress Bulletin Local News "Man Tries to Restore Japanese fighter" by Steve Adams September 4, 1984
Papua New Guinea (PNG) Public Accounts Committee (PAC) "Inquiry into the National Museum and Art Gallery and the Sale and Export of the Swamp Ghost Aircraft" Final Report, page 86 (Ki-61 Tony 379) 2006
Flight Journal "Return of the Swallow (Hein)" August 2013
"From the various 'Tony' airframes distributed around the PAP facility, the author was able to identify Kermit Weeks' Ki-61-1a (c/n 379)... Ki-61-1a (c/n 379) was manufactured during the first week of July 1943 and was also dispatched to New Guinea, where it force landed near Wom Point. It was recovered by Roy Worcester in 1973 and displayed as part of the Roy Worcester Historical Centre near Wewak before being donated to the PNG Museum. C/n 379 was subsequently sold to Kermit Weeks, who has supplied his airframe to assist in the restoration project."
Thanks to Fantasy of Flight and Jim Long for additional information
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December 9, 2018